I am angry today.
I've been following the story of Constance McMillen, the Mississippi senior who wanted to take her girlfriend to prom, quite avidly. Earlier this week, news was posted that after everything that happened in court, a switcheroo was done. Constance and eight other students showed up for what they thought was prom, while everybody else attended a secret party outside the town's borders. While the legality of how it all transpired is still questionable, the morality of the issue astounds me. Because these parents are not only condoning such hateful, narrow-minded behavior, they are orchestrating the outright deception that denied a teenaged girl a basic right to be treated as an equal.
Nothing makes me angrier. Because honestly, I don't think many of those seniors will ever see the injustice, or the mean-spirited nature of what they've done. They're going to turn into their parents, and while I do believe everybody has the right to believe whatever they want, I wholeheartedly believe they DON'T have the right to diminish others' beliefs (as long as those beliefs don't cause harm to others). It's about respecting each other. It's about accepting that what occurs between consenting adults is their business, not yours. Why is that such a difficult concept to grasp?
Several of Constance's classmates commented on various blogs about how Constance brought all this on herself, and they just wanted a drama-free night. That she got what she wanted, so she has no right to complain.
What they fail to understand is that she wasn't just asking to go to a dance. She was asking to be treated as an equal. Constance did not win in this scenario. Nobody did.
It is not my place to judge what these parents are teaching their children. I actually feel a little bit sorry for these young people who will find their place in the world shrinking and shrinking as everybody else leaves them behind because they've never learned how to really accept and respect other people, no matter what their differences. But I am still angry at all those adults, for perpetuating ignorance, for encouraging stereotypes, for failing to do the job they accepted when they decided to raise children in the first place.
Equality is not arbitrary.